[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/26/art.bushrove.gi.jpg caption="Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year."](CNN) - He wasn’t on the ballot this year, but President Bush still lost – to Karl Rove.
For the third consecutive year, Rove has bested Bush in their annual reading contest, the former presidential advisor writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.
The president's reading list this year was weighted towards historical chronicles of conflict, from David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" and Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle" to Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief."
It also included President Grant's "Personal Memoirs," Jon Meacham's "American Lion," James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."
The contest began when Rove made a New Year’s resolution to finish a book a week in 2006. “The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages - its ‘Total Lateral Area,’” writes Rove.
“At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World.”
That year’s contest drew headlines over the lengthy list of Bush's books, which reportedly Andrew Roberts’s "History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," Nathaniel Philbrick’s "Mayflower," and Albert Camus’s "The Stranger," according to Rove.
Bush’s total has dropped each year, says his former advisor: from 95 books in 2006, to 51 in 2007, to just 40 in 2008, with less than a week to go until the end of the year.